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Local Printers Set to Sue INEC over Printing of Ballot Papers

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Nigerian printers under the Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria have threatened to drag the Independent National Electoral Commission to court for allegedly printing a large chunk of its electoral materials overseas.

The agency said this was illegal and a violation of the CIPPON Act 24 of 2007 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The council is charged with the duty of regulating, controlling, managing and administration of printers, the business of printing and other printing related-matters in Nigeria.

Speaking in an interview with The PUNCH on Thursday, the President of CIPPON, Mr Olugbemi Malomo, admitted that the electoral body had been awarding printing jobs to local printers, but he insisted that outsourcing contracting printing contracts to foreign firms was a violation of the law.

Malomo explained that by law, INEC was obligated to award the printing of all electoral materials, including ballot papers to local printers through CIPPON.

He cited Section 23b of the CIPPON Act, which states, “In regulating the registration of printing practitioners, the council ensures that no firm or partnership shall practise as printers in Nigeria unless it is registered by the council.’’

Malomo stated that there was an improvement in the awards of contracts to Nigerian printers after the CIPPON council visited the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, in Abuja last year.

The CIPPON President said, “There was an increase in patronage of our members. To that extent, that advocacy was meaningful. The second point is what percentage were we able to get? We have not been able to collate that.

“Was there any percentage (in INEC printing jobs) that was taken out? Certainly, but we don’t know what percentage that was taken out. The next level of advocacy, we are thinking of doing and I want you to quote me on this; is that we need to approach a court to interpret the law because the Act that established us says, ‘If you are not our member, you can’t get a printing job in Nigeria.’

“But we are aware that they patronise people who are not our members, so, we will eventually seek an interpretation of that (in court). But by and large, more people are patronised but we can’t say at what level or how many people were patronised.

“But with the help of the fourth estate of the realm (the media) and for the benefit of all Nigerians, we all need to work together. People are taking the jobs out of the country and I can tell you it is not because of lack of capacity, it is because of other interests.’’

Responding to insinuations that Nigerian firms may not possess the capacity to deliver the job on time at the required time, Malomo argued that ballot papers had been demystified by the transition to electronic voting.

Stressing that no single company could deliver the quantum of ballot papers and other material needed for the election, he said the excuse of lack of capacity usually levelled against Nigerian printers had also been eliminated by the amended Electoral Act, which had given INEC adequate time to prepare for elections.

He noted, “About four, five elections we have had. I’m not talking about presidential elections; election has moved away from ballot papers to card readers and electronic voting. The election is now one man, one vote.

“In other words, people who were compromising ballot papers, even if you give them a million ballot papers now, it doesn’t count anymore. So, when you talk about capacity, there is no single printing company in the world that can take up this (INEC) job at the required time.

“Capacity is also a function of time. The Electoral Act was also amended to give more time for printing. So, the excuse of lack of capacity has also been reduced or eliminated.

“INEC is one of the biggest users of paper, in particular, this election. We held a paper conference so that the issues of paper can be addressed so that we can use locally produced paper. How can we talk about capacity when the biggest spender is not even interested in an Olympic solution to the challenges it is having? Rather, it is taking the easy way out by going abroad because somebody is going to make more dollars.’’

The council president said money should be spent to develop local capacity as is the practice in developed countries.

“The American government will give you some grants and ask you to spend them on your company because they know what they are doing. That is why we have this post-election session a few years ago to talk about the future and learn a lot of lessons,’’ he submitted.

When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, declined comment.

The Punch

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Ban on Sales, Consumption of Sachet Alcoholic Drinks Still in Force, Says NAFDAC

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Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Moji Adeyeye, has reaffirmed that the ban on the sale and consumption of sachet alcoholic beverages in the country is still in force.

Adeyeye announced this on Wednesday during a press briefing in Lagos.

She said: “The ban on sachet alcohol is a ministerial directive and the ban still remains until the ministers respond. The meeting last week Thursday is a continuation of the discussion.

“The outcome of the meeting is that the ministers should write a memo to the Speaker (of Reps) and the House (of Reps), and the Representative of the Speaker, Prof Jake Dan-Azumi then said we should continue the discussion after the recess of the House members in July. So, the discussion continues.”

The Deputy Spokesman for the House of Representatives, Philip Agbese, disclosed last Friday that the House and NAFDAC resolved to lift the ban on the sale and consumption of sachet alcoholic beverages.

Agbese said the resolution to temporarily lift the ban was reached after a meeting between the House Committee and NAFDAC officials.

He said the lifting of the ban would end when the economy fully recovers from its current strain.

On February 1, 2024, NAFDAC commenced the enforcement of the ban on the importation, manufacture, distribution, sale and use of alcoholic beverages in sachets, PET, and glass bottles of 200ml and below.

The NAFDAC DG said the decision was based on the recommendation of a high-powered committee of the Federal Ministry of Health, NAFDAC, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, and the industry represented by the Association of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employers, Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria, in December 2018.

However, the move to enforce the ban has generated repeated protests by distillers and labour unions, who said the ban would cost 500,000 workers their jobs, and ruin N800bn investments.

Meanwhile, medical experts warned that lifting the ban on alcoholic beverages will lead to acute health complications, increased road traffic accidents, increased risk of abuse of alcohol, liver problems, heart-related problems, and cancers, among others.

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Court Denies Suspended DCP Abba Kyari Bail

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Justice Emeka Nwite of the Abuja Federal High Court has denied suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, bail.

In his ruling, the judge held that Kyari’s bail is at the discretion of the court in line with section 161 (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

The judge ruled that Kyari had not shown any evidence to warrant the court granting him bail.

On May 22, the judge had granted the former boss of the Intelligence Response Team, IRT, temporary two-week bail to bury his mother.

However, the two weeks were extended by a week upon an application filed by Mr. Kyari for an extension of the bail.

On June 1, Kyari perfected the bail conditions and was released the same day.

At today’s proceedings, Justice Emeka Nwite refused to extend his earlier order but granted accelerated hearing in the case.

Kyari was detained following his arrest on February 14, 2022, by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency for alleged involvement with an international drug cartel.

He, along with four members of the Police Intelligence Response Team—Sunday Ubia, Bawa James, Simon Agirigba, and John Nuhu—was arraigned on March 7, 2022.

Two suspected drug traffickers, Chibunna Umeibe and Emeka Ezenwanne, who were arrested at Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, were also charged.

While Kyari and the IRT members pleaded not guilty, Umeibe and Ezenwanne pleaded guilty and were convicted.

DailyPost

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Fubara Nominates, Swears-in 23 Caretaker Committee Chairmen

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Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, is swearing in new caretaker chairmen for the 23 local government areas of the state.

The swearing-in took place at the Government House in Port Harcourt, amid tight security.

The first batch of 11 CTC chairmen took their oath of office first.

It comes a day after he forwarded the list to the state House of Assembly led by factional Speaker, Victor Jumbo.

Channels Television reported that the lawmakers had invited the nominees for screening as early as 8 am on Wednesday.

See the names of the caretaker chairmen nominated by Fubara below:

Abua/Odua LGA – Madigai Dickson

Ahoada East LGA – Happy Benneth

Ahoada West LGA – Mr. Daddy John Green

Akuku Toru LGa – Otonye Briggs

Andoni LGA – Reginald Ekaan

Asari Toru LGA – Orolosoma Amachree

Bonny LGA – Alabota Anengi Barasua

Degema LGA – Anthony Soberekon

Eleme LGA – Brain Gokpa

Emouha LGA – David Omereji

Etche LGA – John Otamiri

Gokana LGA – Kenneth Kpeden

Ikwerre LGA – Darlington Orji

Khana LGA – Marvin Yobana

Obia/Akpor LGA – Chijioke Ihunwo

Ogu/Bolo LGA – Evans Bipi

Okrika LGA – Princess Ogan

Omuma LGA – Promise Reginald

Opobo/Nkoro LGA – Enyiada Cookey-Gam

Oyigbo LGA – – Gogo Philip

Port Harcourt LGA – Ichemati Ezebunwo

Tai LGA – Matthew Dike

Channels Television

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